A church in Newark that traces its origins to the 17th century has won a legal battle to control its own financial affairs without the involvement of the local arm of the Presbyterian Church USA.

A Superior Court judge in Essex County ruled on June 25 that the First Presbyterian Church is independent of the Presbytery of Newark by virtue of a charter granted to it in 1753 by King George II of England. The judge rejected the Presbytery’s claim that the charter is modified by a New Jersey statute holding the church subject to the constitution of the Presbyterian Church USA.

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